Brown was born Violet Henrietta Moss in the small town of Duanvale, located in Trelawny Parish, Jamaica. Her father, John Gordon Moss, worked as a sugar boiler. Her mother, Elizabeth Riley, was a housekeeper. Brown had three siblings. At a relatively late age, 13, she was baptized.
At some point, she married Augustus Gaynor Brown. She had seven children in total, only one daughter with her husband. These included Harland Fairweather (1920–2017), Elsie Dowman (born 1923), Irving Russell (1923–1989), Barrington Russell, Morris Davis, and Idalyn Wilks. Elsie and Irving were twins. She worked various jobs during her life, including as a domestic helper, farmer, and dressmaker. She was widowed in 1978.
At the time of her 110th birthday in 2010, it was reported that aside from deafness, she was in good overall physical shape. She stated that she didn’t feel her age and attributed her long life to God, respecting her parents, working hard, and eating coconut sauce. Some of her favorite pastimes included going to church, reading books, and listening to music. At the time of her 113th birthday in 2013, it was reported that she was still in overall excellent health, with her memory intact. It was revealed that Violet maintained a book that recorded every deceased person in the Duanvale area between 1950–1978. At the age of 115, she was still able to walk (with the help of a walker) and could read without any glasses. In 2015, she was given a letter by Queen Elizabeth II in honor of her 115th birthday.
Her first son, Harland Fairweather (15 April 1920 – 19 April 2017), died at the age of 97. He held the Guinness World Record for the “oldest child with a parent living”. Brown was 117 years old at the time of her son’s death.
Violet Brown died in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica, on 15 September 2017, at the age of 117 years, 189 days. Brown was the last known subject of Queen Victoria, the British Monarch who died on 22 January 1901. Brown was 10 months old at the time. Following her death, Nabi Tajima became the oldest living validated person in the world, as well as the last known validated person born in the 19th century.